ATHENS A farm equipment repair shop has been fined $87,500 by the Ministry of Labour after a 2013 accident in which a worker was killed while inflating a tire.
Feenstras Equipment at Athens, west of Brockville, pled guilty on Jan. 14 of failing to take every “precaution reasonable” to protect a worker as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Feenstras was fined $70,000, plus another $17,500 for a victim fine surcharge, which goes to a provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Billy-Joe Buzzell, 31, was inflating and seating a tire for a piece of farm equipment at Feenstras when the tire bead the inner edge of a tire that grips the rim of the wheel flew off the rim and about 15 feet in the air before striking him in the head. According to the Ministry of Labour, the lip of the wheel rim was bent in a number of places beyond allowable variations and there were a number of places where the tire could have come off the rim.
Buzzell used a two-way, non-locking air chuck (a device to grip the tire while inflating) attached to a black air hose connected to the shops air supply. The non-locking air chuck required Buzzell to be next to the tire while inflating.
The ministry says a locking air chuck on an extension hose with an inline pressure gauge would allow distance between the tire and the worker. The worker would not need to hold the valve stem while inflating a tire and that would be a reasonable precaution on the part of the employer.